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Sleep and Bedtime Routines

Everybody feels better and is more able to cope with new experiences after a good nights sleep. Your child may have always slept well and had a set bedtime routine. This will help your child’s concentration and help them cope better with the move to school. If your little one is not used to a regular bedtime routine now is a good time to work on this.

By the time children start in reception they should be managing the day without naps and getting about 11-12 hours sleep each night.

  • The best way to get a good bedtime routine going is to help your child have a pattern in their day. Try having mealtimes at roughly the same time. On the build up to bedtime start winding things down with;

    • A warm bath
    • Going ‘screen free’ the ‘blue light’ gets in the way of sleep hormone release. Help them choose quiet play like colouring or board games with you
    • A warm drink and a snack (try a bowl of non-sugary cereal)
    • Head upstairs to clean teeth and have story time. Kiss good night and have a regular ‘thing’ you say like ‘sleep tight’

    Keep bedrooms a place for chilling out, with low light and calm chat. Try not to use going to their bedroom as a punishment. TVs and screens in bedrooms stimulate children and do not help them learn to get off to sleep themselves.

    Once you have said goodnight if your child wants you go to them over the evening, or in the night keep your response calm. Be kind, reassuring, quiet and a bit boring! This helps your child feel confident you are there for them, but gives a strong message that bedtime means sleeping time.

    To begin with you may have to go to your child many times. Go along with this but keep it short and to the point. Repeat your ‘good night, sleep tight’ message. Over time they will get better at settling themselves without your reassurance.

    Have a regular getting up time – even if it has been a bad night get up and start your day as planned – this gives you a better chance of the routine you want becoming a habit.

Who Can Help?

You can contact the Healthy Child Programme by calling Just One Number on 0300 300 0123 or texting Parentline on 07520631590. Our opening hours are 8am-6pm Monday-Friday (excluding bank holidays) and 9am-1pm on Saturdays.

If you are 11-19 you can text ChatHealth on 07480635060 for confidential advice from one of our team.

*Click Here* to speak to other Norfolk parents and carers on our online community forum. 

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